But he draws back my clothes, covers me
in a palette of skirts and there is a blouse here;
I am less touched. Finally, a goodness.
He paints a field around me. My legs curl
under; I am happy here. Great
baskets at my side fill with: this
is a passionflower; this is a black-eyed
susan; this is a tired iris; this is a bloom of
cotton bright as that sun and that
moon. Happy here?
My lips feather in grotesque smile.
This land. This abyss.
When he is unhappy with
so many things, he stabs the forests
behind me and these bolls in front.
They do not turn away; they turn brighter.
“Artist’s Delight” from The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012). Reprinted by permission of the author.
CM Burroughs is the author of The Vital System (Tupelo Press, 2012). A recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, and Cave Canem Foundation, she is an assistant professor of poetry at Columbia College Chicago. Her second collection of poems, Master Suffering, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press.